St. Joseph, St. Peter and Sacred Heart parishes to merge, become Holy Family Parish


Father Ian Williams, pastor (left), and Father Nate Edquist, associate pastor, celebrate Mass June 13 at St. Joseph Church. Also officiating was Bishop Robert J. McClory for the Sacrament of Confirmation.

It was announced Saturday, June 19, 2021, that the three Catholic parishes in La Porte – Sacred Heart, St. Peter and St. Joseph – will unite to become Holy Family Parish effective July 1.

The logo of the new Holy Family Parish of La Porte.

A press release issued by the Diocese of Gary stated that the merger “will streamline administration and allow for the integration of local ministries, empowering the faithful to witness and proclaim Christ more effectively. The statement added that the three church sites will retain their individual names and Mass will continue to be offered at each location. “The history and traditions of each community will continue to be celebrated and honored,” according to the statement.

Five years ago, Father Ian Williams, who had served as pastor of Sacred Heart since 2004, was named pastor of St. Peter and St. Joseph in addition to Sacred Heart. Under his leadership, and with episcopal encouragement, the three locations started the process of integrating parish ministries and activities.

“By working together, the La Porte Catholic churches were able to strengthen existing ministries and create new joint ministries,” Father Williams said in the release. “Ministries such as the Women’s Group, Kingdom Builders, has blossomed as a result of broadening the scope to include members from all three churches.

The official merger is an important step in continuing to strengthen and renew the Catholic Church in La Porte, according to the release. The mission statement of the new Holy Family Parish is to “Be a Family, Be Disciples.”

According to Father Williams, members of the expanded parish “are excited to be joined together under the patronage of the Holy Family of Mary, Jesus and Joseph and look with renewed enthusiasm to fulfill our call to be joyful disciples of Jesus Christ.”

After a planning committee reviewed names suggested by members of all three church communities, two rose to the top. These names were presented to the bishop of the Diocese of Gary along with Father Williams’ insight and request to unite the three churches into one parish.

“When Father Williams presented his proposal, it was clear that this was the result of an organic process over the last few years, that included the involvement and support of the faithful,” Bishop Robert McClory said. “The Church of Northwest Indiana will benefit from this effort — it is a good model of collaboration and examination for expanding the mission of the Church.”

Father Williams explained that more than 100 years ago, Holy Family Hospital was founded in La Porte.

“The new parish name continues that tradition of proclaiming the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and entrusts our individual families and parish family into their care,” Williams said. “The family is the basic building block of the parish. Each family, large or small, is called to strive for holiness of life — as is our collective parish family. This is a beautiful opportunity for us to unite more fully as a family and be a greater witness to Jesus Christ and His Church to the people of La Porte.”

The newly combined Holy Family Parish is home to approximately 1,400 Catholic families in the city of LaPorte and surrounding area who are served through various liturgical and volunteer ministries. Holy Family Parish is part of the Diocese of Gary, home to an estimated 168,500 Catholics who are served through soon-to-be 64 parishes in Lake, Porter, La Porte and Starke counties. The diocese is also home to three high schools and 17 elementary schools.

2 Responses to “St. Joseph, St. Peter and Sacred Heart parishes to merge, become Holy Family Parish”

  1. Lisa Hennessy Johnson

    Jun 20. 2021

    Absolutely LOVE this! We’ve always been tri-parish but now it’s official! My mom Jackie Hennessy is so pleased and happy! She led the tri-parish youth group for over 30 years and always wanted the three parishes to work together and truly become and act as one! Kudos to every single person and the Gary Diocese for making it a reality!

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  2. Annemarie Polan

    Jun 25. 2021

    I think I am missing something here. If the three churches are going to retain their sites, their names and still hold mass/services at these individual sites, what is really changing? Thanks in advance for clearing this matter up for me.

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